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Lannan loses arbitration case

Feb 2, 2012, 4:15 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Even in loss, John Lannan nearly doubled his $2.75 million salary from last year.

A three-judge panel ruled against John Lannan today in his salary arbitration case against the Nationals, determining the left-hander deserves to earn $5 million this season.

One day after appearing before the panel in a hearing in St. Petersburg, Fla., Lannan learned he had lost his case. He had been seeking a $5.7 million salary.

That would have represented a 107 percent raise for Lannan, who made $2.75 million last season. In the end, the judges still awarded the 27-year-old an 82 percent raise based on his stats over several seasons and how comparable pitchers were paid themselves.

Lannan went 10-13 with a 3.70 ERA in 2011, setting or matching career-bests in wins, ERA and starts (33). Over four-plus seasons withRead more »

  1. CN - Feb 2, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    I don't know the exact metrics used to determine these cases. However, given his season last year and his career numbers, the $5m figure, resulting in 81.8% increase in pay from last season is very generous. Then again, if his agent thought he could get $5.7m, why not, right?

  2. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    I am guessing that either Lannan or Detwiler gets traded. Lannan to the Red Sox is a possibility. We'll see.dfh21

  3. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 2, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    That photo is perfect for "WHAT, HUH, HOW". That also just saved the Nats at least a $800,000 for next year as the exponential increase from year to year just adds up.To steal a line, I guess the arbiteur wasn't too impressed with Lannan. He probably reads FIP, xFIP, and BABIP like some Lannan haters here.

  4. Will - Feb 2, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    It doesn't make any sense to trade Lannan.When was the last time a team only used 5 starter in a season in the modern baseball era?Oh yeah, never.We absolutely need Lannan or Detwiler as a back up when one of Strasburg, Zimmerman, Gonzalez or Wang inevitably go down with an injury. I'd much rather promote Lannan than have to rely on Yunesky Maya.Also don't forget that 3 of those 4 SPs have had SERIOUS arm injuries in their very recent past, which caused them to miss at least an entire season.The Nationals will likely demote Lannan. He'll still finish the season with 15+ ML starts, when things are all said and done.

  5. Unkyd - Feb 2, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Curious: given our paucity of SP, what could we trade him for that would be worth more than he is, to us. You'd have to bring back an arm worthy of call up, if necessary, right? With an option…?

  6. jd - Feb 2, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Trading Lannan and/or Det now makes no sense at all. Not until one or more of Purke, Meyer or Solis are ready to contribute. Odds are 50/50 that someone has to go on the DL during the year and I for one have no interest in seeing Maya in the rotation.

  7. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 2, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    In terms of the money the Nats just saved on Lannan, they can hire 10 new staff employees at $55,000 each + benefits and still have money left over and those staff people can work on nothing but NatsFest, Caravans, Hot Stove, etc.I'm joking of course but that is a lot of money saved. Rizzo is now 3 for 3 the past 3 seasons in arbitration hearings. That's a very good track record which also shows how fair and well thought out his offers have been from the team side.

  8. Nattydread - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Mark This situation is interesting — it would really be a knock to Lannan's confidence to start him in AAA with a $5 million salary.Any comparative case studies of guys like Lannan who were the "top starter" for teams and then became bottom rung of the rotation?

  9. Theophilus - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    There are no $5MM pitchers in Triple-A. Neither are there many $5MM mop-up guys in the bullpen, which — with his control issues — is all Lannan would be suited for.And, agreed, the Nats need both Lannan and Detwiler as starters/potential starters at the present time.If the season isn't going well in July, and if someone has emerged as ML-ready at Syracuse (unlikely), then they dump him on some contender-wannabe in exchange for an A+-ball underachiever. Unless he's had Lasix on his arm over the winter, that's the best we can hope for. (I don't hate him; I just don't like him enuf to keep him around. It makes much more sense to try to develop someone younger, cheaper, more athletic and more clever, who, in time, won't stress the bullpen every time out.)

  10. Feel Wood - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Any comparative case studies of guys like Lannan who were the "top starter" for teams and then became bottom rung of the rotation?Livan Hernandez.

  11. John C. - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Sorry John, I LOL'd. From an MLBTR commenter, imagining the arbitration process:Lannan: "I'm good"Nationals: "No, you're not"Arbitrator: "I'm gonna have to go with the Nationals here."Hilarity aside, I'm hoping that Lannan has the best season of his career so far – just to further annoy the haterz.

  12. Rabbit - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    With Lannan the Nats are just throwing good money away. Great record Lannan 38-51. Your mom must be proud. The Nats are, 5 million dollars worth. How can you sleep? Good I guess.

  13. blovy8 - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Nattydread, Liriano is getting there for the Twins.

  14. Steve M. - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    I give credit where credit is due and Amanda Comak who will be sitting with Mark this afternoon on his video chat got some nice quotes in a statement made by John's agent on in the arbitration case:“The process of salary arbitration is built to help the two sides bridge a gap," Lannan's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that prior to a hearing. Neither side took this personally, and both sides presented very professional cases."John has a great deal of respect for the Nationals organization and it is clear that the Nationals have a mutual respect for John. As the highest-paid pitcher on the team now, John will be ready and excited to earn his salary in 2012 by making a meaningful contribution to the Nationals this season."

  15. HHover - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Lannan is coming off his best season ever and is going to make $5M. That's not the profile of a guy going to AAA. It's much more likely that Detwiler goes to the bullpen, at least for a while.I don't think trading away a starting pitcher is likely (it would have to yield a huge reward–CF/lead-off hitter), but it's not entirely out of the question. With Lannan as the 5th starter, that leaves Det, Gorzelanny (remember him?) and Stammen on the 40 man roster–all of whom are capable of starting. The Nats would go thru all of them before we'd ever see Maya again.

  16. blovy8 - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Better Lannan has the money than the Lerners. How many more malls does the world need?

  17. whatsanattau - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    This is destined to be one of those ironic things where he ends up among the team leaders for games started, innings pitched, and possibly even wins because someone else doesn't stay as healthy as we hope, he doesn't have to line up with the other team's top starters as often, and he just keep's plugging along. Just like Mark Twain, the rumors of his death have been greatly exagerated. John Lannan will live on in the Nats rotation and in the heart's of (some) fans for years to come. I mean seriously, what are the chances of Wang getting more than 20 starts this year? 24 for Strasburg. 32 each for Zimm and Gio. That leaves 54 for starts and Detwiler won't get 30 of them….

  18. blovy8 - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Detwiler pitches pretty well against lefties, there's no shame in making him a bullpen guy initially at least, and stretching him out later on in the year when the need arises. It's not like he's been the most durable player around, and Lannan's splits are about as even as could be. HHover, it does surprise me that no one thinks of Gorzelanny starting anymore, at 3 mil, if some team really needed a lefty, he would be the target before Lannan or Detwiler, I'd imagine. Detwiler hasn't thrown enough innings to hand him a spot, and Lannan costs more and has lousy peripherals that might not hold up in the wrong situation.

  19. Feel Wood - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    I give credit where credit is due and Amanda Comak who will be sitting with Mark this afternoon on his video chat got some nice quotes in a statement made by John's agent on in the arbitration case:Kilgore has the same quotes. And what's so credit-worthy about being able to cut and paste out of a press release?

  20. Steve M. - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    I wasn't a John Lannan 'guy' until Spring Training last year. Part of my opinion of John wasn't John's fault because he was thrust into a lose-lose situation in horrible rotations of years past with terrible defenses, and sometimes matchups like Opening Days against clear cut #1 aces just had him looking like he didn't belong and it really shouldn't have been a reflection on him as much as it was the then current state of the Nationals.John is a #3 or #4 pitcher and in that context, he is good. He doesn't get great run support which impacts his W/L. John needs to improve on fundamentals such as fielding and sometimes he doesn't help his own cause at the plate when he can't lay down a bunt.Where I gained respect for John was in Spring Training last year he came into camp in the best shape of his career. It impressed me that John was taking his own career seriously and not taking it for granted like 2010. His fastball picked up some velo and he challenged some batters more. With a better defense behind him, he may look even better in 2012.

  21. SonnyG10 - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Blovy8, the Lerners can have all the malls they want as far as I'm concerned as long as it helps fund my Nats! :)

  22. Eugene in Oregon - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    The arbitration panels — according to everything I've ever read about them — stick pretty much to a combination of old-school stats, comparable salaries that have been achieved on the open market, and some sort of years-of-service scale in deciding which of the two numbers to endorse. Lannan's old-school stats are mixed (decent ERA, poor W-L record, mediocre SOs). MLBTR, whose formula for predicting arbitration-eligible results seems to work pretty well, had predicted $4.9m for Lannan based on the criteria the panels seem to use. So the panel going with the $5m shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, Lannan included.

  23. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    I'd trade John Lannan in a New York minute. He's a lefty and he's durable, but he does not miss many bats and he walks a lot of guys and he'll be expensive for his skills in 2013. They have Gorz, who might beat him out in any event this Spring, and Detwiler and others in terms of back up at SP. It would not make much sense to send him to Cuse to pitch there for $5M and he's not a pen guy. dfh21

  24. Steve M. - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Feel Wood said… Kilgore has the same quotes. And what's so credit-worthy about being able to cut and paste out of a press release? February 02, 2012 12:24 PM That's my point on a simple cut & paste. How come the other beat writers simply cut and paste and Mark didn't. Did he not have access to it or not use it.Amanda goes the furthest of all the beat writers with quotes so I do enjoy reading her articles.Did Brodie say anything earth shattering, no? I did find the second paragraph interesting though.

  25. blovy8 - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Hey, Sonny, that 25 mil a year they were gonna spend on Prince is still laying around, so don't worry.

  26. MFG - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Rosenthal says the Nats are trying to trade Lannan in an attempt to free up payroll space for either Oswalt or Edwin Jackson.http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Washington-Nationals-John-Lannan-Edwin-Jackson-Roy-Oswalt-starting-rotation-020212

  27. blovy8 - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    I don't see why a team wouldn't just pay more for Jackson, if it came to that. 5 million isn't a bargain anymore.

  28. blovy8 - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Also, hasn't Oswalt kind of established where he's willing to go? Are the Nats even on his radar anymore?

  29. Feel Wood - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Where I gained respect for John was in Spring Training last year he came into camp in the best shape of his career. It impressed me that John was taking his own career seriously and not taking it for granted like 2010.In contrast with Detwiler who is still in the same shape he was on the day he was drafted (i.e. nonexistent) and who has cleary done no conditioning beyond what was required to rehab his hip injury, which probably came about in the first place due to his lack of conditioning. True, Davey has had some nice things to say about Detwiler, but Detwiler should know better than to rest on those laurels. Will he show up in camp in the best shape of his life? Don't count on it.Captcha = 'ouche'. Hey, the truth hurts, Ross.

  30. HHover - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Oswalt or Jackson – I'd pass on both.Owalt is a short termer of dubious health on a team that has an outside shot, at best, to contend in 2012. Jackson is a different pitcher from Lannan, but not substantially better.

  31. Mark'd - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Feel Wood, good contrasting points on Detwiler. I agree with you.

  32. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Ken Rosenthal tweet: Sources: #Nationals' target is E. Jackson, not Oswalt. Move hinges on whether they can trade Lannan. #MLB

  33. MicheleS - Feb 2, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Is that Boras feeding Rosenthal a line about Jackson?

  34. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    As our Ace, Lannan has won a number of games on a bad team pitching against the other teams best pitchers. He doesn't get a break from most of the fans here. I hope he stays and excels this year.

  35. Cease the Opportunity - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    I used to criticize Lannan for his deficiencies and for the last year defended him. And praised and defended Detwiler for his potential. Lannan will probably be the 4th starter, and Detwiler will either be traded or start the season in the bullpen…

  36. Will - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    Theophilus said…There are no $5MM pitchers in Triple-A.You may be right, but off the top of my head I can think of an $8mil pitcher in AAA. His name is Yunesky Maya, you should look him up.

  37. NatsLady - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Oswalt already said he only wants to pitch for the Cards or the Rangers, didn't he? I thought the Rangers were trying to free up a starting pitching slot for him.I've said for many months Lannan needs to go elsewhere. I wish him the best of luck–still have that image of the bloody nose, and the great play he made–but he needs to be somewhere else. Maybe he will blossom like Hanrahan did.

  38. Bowdenball - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    I like John Lannan and it it would be hard to say goodbye to a guy who feels like part of the Nats family, but Edwin Jackson IS a better pitcher, and its not close. Lannan's average WAR value over the last three seasons is around 1.3; Jackson's is 3.8. So you're talking about an extra 2.5 wins a season, on average.

  39. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    How can anyone look at Detwiler and presume he's clearly only done the minimum in terms of getting into shape? Not all that fair to the kid.

  40. SCNatsFan - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Sure, if you flip LannEn and sign Jackson (although then all the trade Dunn haters will no longer be able to say 'we could have had Jackson'), flipping LannEn for a roster player, most likely an outfielder, then I think most would be OK with that. I still see LannEn making 30 or starts for us this year.

  41. jd - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    I guess I don't mind replacing Lannan with Jackson in the rotation provided you get some return for Lannan in a trade. Lannan's BABIP last year was .296 which is likely not sustainable and Jackson's was .330 which likely means that his other numbers can improve potentially. Jackson's K to walk ratio is somewhat better than Lannan and he's probably worth 1 to 2 extra wins per year.

  42. HHover - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    MicheleS – That makes more sense to me than the Nats actually being interested in Jackson–except that Rizzo did pursue Jackson pretty hard 2 seasons ago, when there was talk of a three way trade that would send Dunn to the White Sox and bring Jackson here (from AZ).Will – Maya was signed for 4 yrs for $8M. Wasted money, yes, but not a higher annual cost than Lannan.

  43. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    I don't like Lannan (as a pitcher, I am sure he's a nice guy and all), and I am not crazy about Jackson either, tough I think Edwin's better. The durability is great but 6 clubs have not been able to get his talent perfected, can anyone? The price tag has to be considered. dfh21

  44. WillieHarrisUnderpants - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    I think Davey may get creative with this situation. Seems to me the perfect move would be to "platoon" Detwiler with Strasburg. We know Stras needs to be held to 5 IP if we want him to last through August. And we know Detwiler has a starter's mentality and likes a long warm-up, entering with bases empty, etc. So why not pair the two of them up every 5th day? It would give the pen a built-in day of rest and you don't need to kill Lannan's confidence by sending him to Syracuse.

  45. HHover - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Bowdenball and JD – The WAR #s are a little misleading–they're based on FIP, which Lannan, as a groundballer with a low-strike out rate, consistently outperforms. Jackson is more of a strike out guy (tho not a huge one), with only marginally more control, which leaves them both with nearly identical WHIPs (1.423 career for Lannan, 1.476 for Jackson).

  46. blovy8 - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    If they want to upgrade the rotation, that still puts Detwiler in the bullpen over Wang and whoever they get. I bet they'd have to pay a million or two of Lannan's salary to get anything worthwhile, so to me this can't be a straight dump. Beside the fact that they can actually afford a bigger payroll anyway.

  47. Unkyd - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    I just think LannEn's not gonna be moping and whining when he starts the year in Syracuse. He's a big boy, he understands how the numbers game works, he just got paid, it makes no sense to have either him or Det in the pen, when they ought to be throwing 100 pitches every goth day. His option is the only reason he got paid, here… You can't trade him for anything approaching what he's worth, as insurance, here. Next year, he's somewhere else, but this year, he'll be s good teammate, as always….

  48. Unkyd - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Fifth…. Every fifth day

  49. Tcostant - Feb 2, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Their is clearly something to the trade Lannan and sign Jackson comments. The Nats just signed Jackson to a one year deal:http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/02/02/the-nationals-are-targeting-edwin-jackson/

  50. blovy8 - Feb 2, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Still don't know why any team trading for Lannan wouldn't have just signed Jackson by now.

  51. Avar - Feb 2, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    I agree totally that the Nats will not pay Lannan $5m to go to Syracuse. He is a big leaguer this year barring another stretch of really bad pitching.But, just for fun I thought I'd remind everyone that the Mets paid Oliver Perez $12m to pitch in the minors last year…for another team! It happens, but only when the player has completely lost it. Obviously, Lannan is nowhere near that point.And I also agree they won't trade Lannan as they badly need that SP depth. No one goes 162 games w/ 5 SP. You need more like 7 or 8.

  52. Feel Wood - Feb 2, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    How can anyone look at Detwiler and presume he's clearly only done the minimum in terms of getting into shape? Not all that fair to the kid.Has he added even one pound of muscle since 2007? (We already know he hasn't added any fat.) Is he throwing any harder now than he was then? Is he able to pitch deeper into games without showing signs of tiring? Is he able to pitch at his highest effectiveness at any greater than the one-start-a-week pace of a college pitcher? He's supposed to be a power pitcher, but does he look even remotely like one?The answer to every single question: No.Case closed.

  53. Tcostant - Feb 2, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Baseball does have some kind of rules that if he is cut in the spring off an arbitration hearing, you pay just termination pay, which is a lot less than the full salary. I think the date to do this is around 10 days before opening day.I remember Steve Balboni getting cut in such a way; it happens a lot less now because more teams just non-tender guys in the first place.So if they can't trade him & don't like him at $5M, they can get out for a lot less $$$ (don't kmow the exact %, but somewhere around 25% to 50%).

  54. Unkyd - Feb 2, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    OK…. What am I missing. Are we not in a position now, where we have so many pitchers that we HAVE to trade at least one, before heading north? Do we now NEED other teams to suffer rotation injuries? Unless EJ has options….I'm too stoopid to follow this….

  55. Tcostant - Feb 2, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Here is another more resent example of termination pay, looks like you can cut him loose for about 25% of his salary.http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=mlb&id=2813691

  56. Feel Wood - Feb 2, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Baseball does have some kind of rules that if he is cut in the spring off an arbitration hearing, you pay just termination pay, which is a lot less than the full salary. I think the date to do this is around 10 days before opening day.John Patterson and Shawn Hill can tell you all about it.

  57. Anonymous - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Two opposing points deserve consideration: 1. On too many occasions, I watched Lannan pitch his heart out and get the loss or "no decision" because he lacked offensive support.2. I also watched Lannan melt down against the Phillies in their park, only to ADMIT that their fans rattled him in his pre-game warmup. The DC press never mentioned it afterwards (it was really embarrassing). Given Rizzo's penchant for tough competitors, I would bet that he marked Lannan for removal based on that episode.

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